Chelsea star Hakim Ziyechs absence from Liverpool Carabao Cup final showdown explained

Chelsea v Lille: Match in pictures

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has tinkered with his team for today’s Carabao Cup showdown with Liverpool at Wembley. The Blues go into the game hoping to win the tournament for the first time since 2015, when Jose Mourinho was manager. And victory at Wembley could act as a catalyst for more to come. 

Chelsea have gone strong for today’s match with Liverpool as they look to put Jurgen Klopp’s side to the sword.

Edouard Mendy gets the nod in goal, with the Senegal international starting behind a back three consisting of Trevoh Chalobah, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger.

Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are then deployed as wing-backs, with N’Golo Kante and Matteo Kovacic in the middle of the park.

And, up top, Chelsea have gone with a front three consisting of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.

When speaking on Friday, Tuchel suggested Ziyech was fit for the match at Wembley.

“We had everyone training except Ben Chilwell, which is brilliant news,” he said.

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“Ziyech and Kova are both OK, everybody joined team training from the first to the last minute with no reactions.”

Ziyech has, however, failed to make the squad for today’s match.

And Sky Sports say this is down to an injury, with the former Ajax star limping out of his side’s 2-0 Champions League win over Lille in midweek.

Another player who has failed to make the squad is defender Andreas Christensen.

And Tuchel has explained the absence of the Denmark international, admitting injury has forced his hand.

“The issue is his achilles, it happened in training yesterday,” he said.

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“It was a bit of a surprise and a bit of set-back because we were relying on him to be fit today.

“He was very strong in the last matches. He could not finish training.”

Tuchel has kept Romelu Lukaku on the bench, with the Belgium international enduring a difficult first season back in west London.

And the Chelsea boss explained that call by saying “Yeah, there is always a chance (of Romelu starting). He starts a lot of matches.

“But today, for us, it is more about running, and running behind the lines.

“Kai, Christian and Mason from a tactical point of view, and their characteristics and their style are a bit of a better fit.”

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On the current war between Russia and Ukraine, and Roman Abramovich’s decision to step aside for the time being, Tuchel said: “Absolutely, absolutely it [the club’s statement] includes him and it reflects my opinion like everybody else’s opinion and the club.”

He added “No, no we have not [had a conversation with Abramovich] which is absolutely not unusual because I have a daily conversation with Petr Cech and a very regular conversation with Marina – they’re both in charge, both in charge of football and from my understanding they will stay in charge so that will not change a lot for me actually.

“I did also not say it was difficult, it was just a distraction of course because we are aware, we’re watching news and people are concerned and, like we said, we are like also shocked of the situation in Ukraine.

“So, this was more or less it but at the end approaching this final, big final, we allowed ourselves also to be sportsmen, to be football players and we allowed ourselves to focus on this match of football and to a certain degree enjoy it because we know they are like much, much more important things out there than football and still we are here to play a match of football and this is what the players also deserve and spectators as well.”

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